Join this combo tour from Sofia to enjoy two of the most famous sights in Bulgaria - Rila Monastery and Plovdiv. Travel in a modern air-conditioned minibus and depend on and English-speaking driver. Discover these sites of Bulgaria with an audio guide in English, Spanish and Italian. You will have enough free time to explore the Rila Monastery complex, sample the local food specialities and discover the Old City of Plovdiv.
About this activity
Prices from 49 euro
Approximately 11 hours
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Audio guide/headphones: Spanish, English, Italian
Easy cancellation: Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
The combo one day tour to Rila Monastery and Plovdiv is a convenient and hassle-free option to explore two of the most popular tourist sights in Bulgaria.
- Make use of a time-efficient group tour to two of the must-see sites in Bulgaria.
- Explore Plovdiv and visit the major sights of the Old city with an audio guide.
- Explore Rila Monastery with an audio guide.
- 08:00: Departure from the meeting point behind Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, just next to La Cattedrale restaurant. Alternatively, you can select a hotel pick up during the reservation process.
- 10:00: Arrival at the Rila Monastery. The monastery is the most commented on the internet Bulgarian UNESCO site. You’ll have time to explore the monastery’s main church (a true work of art) and the inner yard with the help of our audio guide. You can go further on your discovers by visiting the monastery museum on your own. There will be time for a quick lunch or a snack just before your departure.
- 12:30: You will head towards Plovdiv passing through the beautiful Bulgarian countryside.
- 15:20: Arrival in Plovdiv – the second biggest city in Bulgaria and one of the oldest in Europe. With our audio guide in hand, you can start your discovery of the ancient sights and Rivaval Period mansions Plovdiv is famous for. You will have some time to enjoy a coffee or a beverage at Plovdiv’s main shopping street.
- 17:00: Departure from Plovdiv on the highway to Sofia.
- 19:00: Arrival back in Sofia.
Please note that all of the timetables are approximate and are subject to change, depending on the size of the group and the traffic along the way.
From April until October – 49 euros per person.
- English-speaking driver
- Comfortable vehicle with A/C
- Audio guide
Prices do not include:
- Entrance fees for the museums
- Food and drinks
- You can reserve a hotel pick up for an additional 5/10 euro, depending on the hotel location.
Extra information for Rila Monastery and Plovdiv tour:
- Rila Monastery’s Dress Code: The monastery is functioning as an Orthodox temple and a strict dress code is imposed and should be respected. Men and women should be wearing clothes covering their shoulders. Women should not wear short shorts or skirts.
- Shoes: We advise you to wear comfortable walking shoes as the inner yard of the Rila Monastery and the streets of Plovdiv are cobbled.
- The audio guides that we offer can be in English, Spanish and Italian.
- We also offer a day tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana church with an English-speaking tour guide and you can book from HERE and read more about the location itself from HERE.
- We also offer a day tour to Plovdiv with an English-speaking tour guide and you can book it from HERE.
The Rila Monastery is one of Bulgaria’s symbols and a popular tourist destination. The monastery is set deep in the heart of Rila Mountain, between the Rilska and Drushliavitza Rivers, at 1147 meters above sea level. It is situated 120 kilometers south of Sofia, and 41 kilometers east of Blagoevgrad.
The history of the Monastery:
The monastery was found in the first half of the 10th century AD. Its history is directly connected with the first Bulgarian hermit Saint John of Rila who chose this site to pray in seclusion. Through the ages, the Rila Monastery served as a spiritual, educational and cultural center for the Bulgarians. During the Revival, which was during the 18th-19th century, the Monastery opened about fifty metohias. These are small convents located in the bigger settlements on Bulgarian territory. This is where the monks frequently went to officiate, educate and popularize the Monastery among the laymen. Most of the present complex of the Rila Monastery dates from the 19th century. The oldest building here is the Hrelyova Tower. The most renowned Bulgarian Renaissance painters covered every inch of the church in frescoes.
Museum section of the complex:
From the end of the nineteenth century onwards, the Rila Monastery has a museum with historical exhibits from the region. The exposition includes important examples of Bulgarian and foreign art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The most precious exhibit is the finely carved wooden cross – the work of Father Rafail. His masterpiece took years to complete and only the finest chisels and tools were used. After completing it in 1802 he lost his eyesight due to the strenuous work. The cross represents 36 Biblical scenes, eighteen on each side, with over 600 miniature figures.
The Cultural Capital of Bulgaria:
While Sofia is the administrative center of Bulgaria, Plovdiv is its cultural and artistic capital. Plovdiv is the second biggest city in Bulgaria and is just a 2-hour drive on a motor road from Sofia. It is also one of the oldest European towns contemporary to Troya and Mycenae.
Тhe tour lets you explore the cultural and ethnic kaleidoscope of the Old Town. It has colorful and unique architectural ensembles, as well as, the major historical sights. In this tour, you will learn a lot, have fun and have time on your own for lunch and shopping.